how long does alcohol stay in your system

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?

Just because you might look or feel sober doesn’t mean that you actually are sober. If you’ve built up a tolerance to alcohol over the years, you might not realize how much alcohol is still in your body. How long does alcohol stay in your system? 

Alcohol can take a long time to work its way out of your body. It depends on a lot of factors. Your weight, how many drinks you’ve had, and even your age can impact how alcohol affects you

Read on to learn more about how this drug affects your body. 

How Is Alcohol Processed? 

First, you need to understand how your body processes alcohol. You probably already know that your liver is responsible for breaking down and processing the alcohol you introduce into your system. Before it gets there, though, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream from your stomach. 

About 20% of the alcohol you consume will go straight into your bloodstream, which is what gives you the sensations that come with feeling drunk. The remaining 80% will head to your small intestines, where it continues to be absorbed. 

If you drink too much too fast, your liver won’t be able to keep up. This is how alcohol remains in your body, lingering in places like your blood, urine, and saliva.

Alcohol can be removed from your body through sweat and breathing. This is why people often smell like the drinks they’ve consumed after a night of binge drinking. 

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? 

Alcohol leaves the various parts of your body at different rates. So, while you might not be able to smell alcohol on your breath twelve hours later, it’s most likely still in your system somewhere.

Here’s how long alcohol tends to stay in each area of your body. 


Alcohol tends to leave your blood the fastest since your liver is actively working to process and metabolize the enzymes.

How much you’ve had to drink is the easiest way to predict how long alcohol will remain in your blood. Your liver is able to process about one standard drink (a twelve-ounce beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, etc.) per hour of alcohol.

So, if you’ve had two drinks, then it will take about two hours to completely leave your system. If you drink a lot in rapid succession, though, your liver will slow down.

For the most part, you can usually find traces of alcohol in your blood for up to six hours after drinking. 


You hear a lot about blood alcohol content (BAC) when it comes to instances of drunk driving, but you don’t see cops drawing blood on the side of the road. This is because there are other ways to measure how much alcohol is in your blood; like through saliva.

Alcohol remains in your saliva for anywhere from 10 to 24 hours after drinking. If someone takes a cheek swab of the inside of your mouth, they can test it to see how much alcohol is still in your system. 


Urine tests are more commonly used to test for drugs like marijuana, but they can also be used to test for alcohol. 

Generally, you can still have traces of alcohol in your urine days after your last drink. In fact, it can linger for around 80 hours or three to four days. 

Whether or not this is actually detectable depends on the test. Weaker tests won’t be able to find alcohol in your system four days after your last drink. 


Like many other substances, alcohol will stay in your hair the longest. Since it grows so slowly, it will still be detectable in your hair for up to ninety days after your last drink.

Which Factors Affect the Amount of Time that Alcohol Stays in Your System? 

Everyone is built differently, and different factors can affect the presence of alcohol in the body. Here are a few well-known factors that can influence how long alcohol stays in your body:


Generally speaking, the more you weigh, the faster you will break down alcohol. That also means that the alcohol will leave your system more quickly. 

In other words, someone who weighs 120 pounds will get drunk much faster than someone who weighs 185 pounds. The lighter person will also have more alcohol in their system for a longer period of time. 


Men and women process alcohol differently. Although there are always exceptions, men tend to be able to break down alcohol faster than women— even when they’re the same weight. 

This is because hormones and body fat percentage can affect enzyme breakdown. Women also have less of the enzyme dehydrogenase, which contributes to processing alcohol. 


As you age, your body’s ability to process alcohol decreases. And, the older you are, the longer alcohol will stay in your liver. 


Since alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through your stomach, the food in your stomach (or lack thereof) will affect how long alcohol stays in your body. In other words, your body absorbs alcohol more slowly when you have a full stomach. 

Understanding How Alcohol Affects Your Body

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

The short answer is that it depends on a number of factors that vary from person to person. Hopefully, this guide will help you understand how alcohol affects your body, and how your personal circumstances might affect how long alcohol lingers in your system. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, we can help. Our alcohol addiction intervention specialists can help you and your family find and receive the treatment you deserve. Find a center near you to get started.


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adult children of alcoholics

4 Common Personality Traits in Adult Children of Alcoholics

Screaming, yelling, and fighting.

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of your parents fighting. Not just arguing, but screaming, shouting, and maybe even throwing things.

Not sure what’s going on, you stumble downstairs to find out what’s wrong. Peering over the staircase, you can barely make out what your parents are saying. But you know whatever is going on must be serious. Afraid you might be in trouble yourself, you decide to skip breakfast and hide out in your room.

Being the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics live in a strange reality. One minute everything is calm and serene. Then suddenly, without warning, a crisis erupts in their living room. The endless cycle of drama and pseudo-resolution may even continue into adulthood.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you’re not alone. Almost 28 million children in the U.S. are currently living with an alcoholic parent.

While we can’t change the past, learning from it can help us reshape our future. Read on to learn more about the personality traits that are common among children from alcoholic households.

Tips for Children of Alcoholics

Before you start reviewing the ways alcoholism impacts children, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what you might be feeling.

It’s normal for survivors of alcoholism to want to defend their parents, especially given the ways that alcoholism has shaped their lives. It’s also natural to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt.

We suggest that you write down any negative judgments that arise, whether they are against yourself or another individual, as you learn about the damage alcohol can cause. Research shows that writing down how you feel helps you process your feelings. You don’t have to read them, just write them down to get them out of your head.

Once you’re in the right headspace, you’re ready to begin looking at some of the darkest parts of alcoholism and the way you or another child might react to them.

1. Children of Alcoholics Expect Excitement

Constant crises and daily dramas can cause children of alcoholics to expect life to be tense. This is because their experience has shown them that anything can go wrong, at any time. As they grow familiar with feelings of panic or fear, they start to expect them all the time.

Usually, when we think of something as exciting, we think of it as fun. However, this type of excitement refers to a more scary feeling stemming from fear.

Rather than feeling joyfully excited, children of alcoholics often feel fearfully excited.

Then, once they become adults, their minds stay stuck in crisis mode. This chaotic outlook on life usually continues in their own lives until they unlearn it.

2. Children of Alcoholics Often Experience Insecure Attachment

During early childhood, it’s important for kids to feel secure. It’s during this time of their life that the groundwork is being laid for how they will function as adults.

Insecure attachment is one consequence of an unstable, alcoholic household. It is often characterized by the need for things to be surprising or different. However, things don’t necessarily have to be exciting (scary or adrenaline-fueled) for an insecure attachment to form in children of alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics may feel that a crisis must always be present in their lives because it is all they have ever known to be true. For instance, adult children of alcoholics might seek out unstable relationships, jobs, and financial situations.

This is because people who struggle with an unhealthy attachment to instability are also prone to behaviors like self-sabotage. As fear and doubt creep in about their future, they’ll feel a familiar sense of panic.

Of course, insecure attachment is subliminal behavior. In their own minds, adult children of alcoholics are doing everything possible to be happy. It just so happens that being unhappy is more comfortable and familiar.

3. Children of Alcoholics Are Susceptible to Addiction

Another problem that adult children of alcoholics face is the potential for substance abuse and addiction. The combination of genetics and experiences cause these individuals to have a higher probability of struggling with addiction than the average person.

Studies show that when a parent abuses alcohol before conception, their child is more likely to also have addiction problems. In fact, genetics can increase the risk of having addiction by 40 to 60 percent— or more, in some cases.

4. Children of Alcoholics Are Overwhelmed by Emotions

Alcoholic parents aren’t as emotionally available to their children as they should be. Moreover, children may witness their alcoholic parents behaving wildly during active addiction.

While they may think, “I will never act that way,” they are unconsciously learning from their addicted parents. Many adult children experience feelings of disgust when they notice any extreme similarities between their and their addicted parents’ behavior.

Unregulated emotions and feelings of self-hatred can lead to the development of serious mental health issues, like depression. They can also cause high levels of anxiety, anger, and other negative emotions.

Dealing with Adulthood as the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics tend to also struggle with small setbacks in their plans. This makes personal relationships and self-discipline especially challenging to maintain.

They may find themselves yelling at their partner for being a few minutes late to a date. They may overly criticize themselves for not being able to complete a personal goal. For these individuals, even being stuck in traffic can feel like a reason to hate themselves— or others.

The Addiction Treatment Services blog provides reliable information to help families recover from addiction. Knowledge and communication are the keys to healing, and being whole again.

Do you know someone who might be struggling with alcoholism? There are things you can do to help without putting yourself at risk. Check out our latest article about how to hold an alcohol intervention.

For any additional information about alcohol detox and treatment options, contact us here or call us at (855) 247-4046.

What You Need to Know About Alcohol Addiction Treatment

What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Alcohol addiction treatment is the process of going through physical and psychological rehab treatment to overcome an alcohol addiction. Since alcoholism is one of the more common addictions in the United States, there are many Americans who aren’t getting the help they need. Some don’t realize they have a problem, some are firmly in denial, but regardless of circumstances, these individuals need treatment. Any addiction can be extremely harmful not only to the user’s health, but also to their friends, families, and their happiness.

Since alcohol is legal, it can be hard to convince a loved one that they have a problem. In these cases, an intervention is often needed in order for the user’s friends and family to speak their minds and urge their loved one towards rehab treatment.

Signs of Alcoholism

Since alcohol is legal for adults to obtain and consume all over the world, but especially in the United States, casual alcohol usage is common. For the responsible drinker, there’s usually very little concern even if they have a drink or two fairly often. However, it can be difficult to determine who is drinking appropriately versus drinking in a risky manner, especially in a social setting. There are many signs that indicate at-risk alcohol use behaviors and other alcohol abuse patterns you should look out for.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involves alcohol consumption with the intent of getting drunk. This averages out to five or more drinks in a two hour period for men and four or more drinks in a two hour period for women. It’s also one of the easiest warning signs for friends and family to pick up on, because there’s a conscious choice being made by the drinker that’s hard to disguise. You can’t just sit down next to a friend at a bar and down four or five drinks in the time they consume one or two without your consumption being noticed.

There are a multitude of other behaviors and habits that may also indicate an alcohol abuse problem. People who likely abuse alcohol may:

  • Drink copious amounts of alcohol in social situations (get togethers, parties, etc.)
  • Drink alcohol daily or throughout the day
  • Drink and drive
  • Start fights or get into legal trouble when under the influence
  • Seem to become a completely different person when they drink

People who exhibit these drinking patterns have all started to lose control over their consumption habits, meaning alcohol has started influencing their behavior on a bigger scale. Sometimes it’s a very small change, but it’s important nonetheless. Risky drinking habits like these can be the precursors to alcoholism. When alcohol use changes from an elective activity to a compulsion, an alcohol addiction may be forming or already set in place.

Some of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Consistently using alcohol to cope with stress or other difficulties
  • Problems with family and relationships as a result of drinking
  • Drinking frequently and/or alone
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and previously enjoyable activities
  • Hiding or covering up the extent of one’s drinking habits
  • Alcohol usage has started to affect work, school, and other obligations
  • Putting self and/or others in danger due to alcohol consumption (i.e. drunk driving)
  • Legal issues stemming from drinking (i.e. DUIs, getting arrested for offenses related to public intoxication, etc.)
  • Blacking out while drinking, unable to remember events that happened while drunk
  • Willpower alone is not sufficient to stop drinking, even when he or she knows the dangerous consequences of drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (not just hangovers) and having to drink to function in daily life

What Causes Alcoholism?

Addiction is a disease. No one gets heart disease on purpose and no one really intends to become an addict or alcoholic either. Alcoholism, unlike some other addictions, can be slow and subtle as it takes over a person’s life. Sometimes it begins with peer pressure in social settings to have just one more. Sometimes alcohol is used as a way to self-medicate anxiety or depression, only to worsen as their tolerance grows.

There is also research that suggests alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can make the effects of alcohol stronger for some people and reduce the symptoms of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may have more intense experiences with alcohol usage and they may not feel ill or sick after larger volumes of alcohol are consumed. Their bodies are primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism since there are fewer negative side effects to discourage the development of negative drinking habits.

Family members can also influence children in ways that make them more likely to become alcoholics as adults, especially if they also practice bad drinking habits. Children who are raised around alcohol abusers may consider alcohol abuse as a normal part of adult life, or if their parents use alcohol as a coping mechanism, they may also reach for alcohol in times of high stress. In these situations, genetic predisposition isn’t the issue so much as behavioral modeling from parents and family members setting an unhealthy example.

When to Seek Help

One of the major warning signs when it comes to addiction is the inability or unwillingness to stop drinking when it has started to negatively impact a person’s life, relationships, finances, and freedom. This includes those who want to change, but don’t know where to start or feel like they’re not strong enough. Some have even reached a point of feeling hopeless, as if they’re trapped and sobriety is out of their reach.

Staging an intervention is often the first step for families and friends trying to help a loved one take their life back. The goal of an intervention is to enlighten the alcohol abuser to their problem and motivate them to do whatever it takes to overcome their alcohol addiction.

Some scenarios that might prompt staging an intervention include:

  • The alcohol abuser getting arrested
  • Hospitalization and medical concerns surrounding alcohol abuse
  • Marital and domestic disputes over alcohol consumption
  • The abuser losing their job over their alcohol abuse
  • Childcare and custody concerns

At the end of a successful intervention, the next step for the alcohol abuser is admission into some kind of addiction treatment program. There different types of rehab treatment options available all over the country, so it’s important to find a rehab center capable of giving your loved one the care and treatments they need. For example, some rehab facilities specialize in inpatient rehab treatment, while others are only outpatient treatment centers.

Depending on your situation, different styles of rehab treatment may be more beneficial to your recovery. Inpatient treatment allows patients to remove themselves from all potential environmental triggers that could stunt their recovery. But for some, namely those who do not have the ability to remove themselves from their daily lives for the duration of rehab, outpatient treatment options may be better suited for their treatment needs.

To learn more about intervention and treatment options for alcoholism, contact us today.

Finding Alcohol Treatment Centers that Work

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the most extreme stage of alcohol addiction and is reached when an individual has lost the ability to control their drinking habits. Sometimes referred to as alcohol abuse disorder, alcohol addiction at any stage can be extremely harmful to a person’s health, life, responsibilities, and relationships. As time goes on, it can get increasingly difficult to for the individual to remain functional day to day, either because they’re obsessing over consuming alcohol or they’re suffering from the side effects of alcoholism.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Common signs of alcoholism include:

  • Spending significant amounts of money on alcohol
  • Feeling the need to consume larger quantities of alcohol more often
  • Behavior changes after drinking
  • Inability to control your alcohol consumption
  • Strong alcohol cravings when you’re not drinking
  • Prioritizing alcohol over personal responsibilities and other activities

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Alcohol the #1 Gateway Substance in the U.S.

According to, alcohol is the number 1 gateway substance in the U.S. with nearly 66% of those surveyed listing alcohol as the first substance they abused. Overall, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco are the top three gateway substances, but alcohol tends to open up opportunities that encourage substance abuse behaviors.

Alcohol is also the most commonly tried substance by high schoolers. Considering the known correlation between the age at which an individual starts experimenting with substances and their odds of abusing drugs and alcohol later in life, even mild alcohol abuse shouldn’t be taken lightly.

do alcohol recovery centers work?

Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Dependency

Deciding to seek alcohol addiction treatment is the first, and often the hardest, step towards recovery. But it can also be challenging to find an effective rehab treatment center that can provide the types of treatment that best suits your unique situation. It can be especially difficult for recovering alcoholics to “stay on the wagon” given how readily available alcohol is all over the country. And dual diagnosis patients —those suffering from both an addiction and an additional mental or behavioral health disorder— need a different approach to treatment altogether compared to patients only suffering from alcoholism.

Thankfully, there are many different types of alcohol treatment centers available throughout the U.S., and some even specialize in treating a particular disorder, such as alcoholism. To learn what types of detox treatment are available to you, call us today. Addiction Treatment Services will review your insurance and help pair you with an alcohol addiction recovery center equipped to help you reach your sobriety goals.

We Can Help – Call Now (877) 455-0055


It’s not uncommon for an alcoholic to have a warped perception of their addiction. Sometimes they’re in full blown denial about their problem or they’ve convinced themselves that it’s “not that bad”. No matter an individual falls on this spectrum, an intervention is likely needed.

Since alcohol is a completely legal substance, it is often much harder for alcoholics to see their substance abuse issues for themselves and can even make it harder to convince them that they need help. In these situations, staging a successful intervention without professional aid can be extremely difficult.

The potential blow ups and pitfalls that could rise up during an intervention may be too intense for you to handle on your own, but a seasoned intervention specialist will have the knowledge and experience to help smooth over conflicts and keep the intervention running smoothly.

If you’re considering staging an intervention for a loved one, we can help you find an intervention specialist to assist you.

Types of Addiction Treatments Available/Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options


The most important first step when approaching addiction recovery is getting the abused substance out of the addict’s system. By detoxifying the body, rehab treatment can continue in a more controlled fashion.

Unfortunately, detoxification can be lethal, especially with alcohol addiction, if done improperly. Self-detox is extremely dangerous and highly discouraged by medical professionals. A medically supervised or aided detox program is the safest way to undergo detox treatment. In some cases, medically assisted detox is also an option, which combines a supervised detox program with medications that help control withdrawal symptoms in the patient.

Some of the medications commonly used to assist alcohol detox include:

  • Acamprosate (Reduces alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms)
  • Naltrexone – (Reduces cravings and the pleasurable side effects of alcohol usage)
  • Disulfiram – (Causes negative effects when alcohol is consumed instead of positive or “rewarding” effects)

A medically supervised detox program is usually necessary for alcohol addictions, in part because the withdrawal symptoms for alcohol can be severe. Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood Swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Headaches or Migraines

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehab is one of the most commonly recommended types of rehab treatment. Inpatient and residential addiction recovery centers involve checking into a facility, where the patient will remain for the duration of their treatment — typically 30, 60, or 90 days. While at the inpatient treatment center, patients have access to medical professionals and care specialists 24/7, on-site therapy programs, counseling sessions, and other activities to help them while they receive treatment.

Inpatient rehab also has the benefit of removing the individual from familiar places or situations that would make it easier for them to fall back into unhealthy habits.

We Can Help – Call Now (877) 455-0055

Dual Diagnosis

12 steps to treat abuse

With how common Dual Diagnosis is, the rehab treatment sector of the medical field has thankfully started to put a lot more weight into the mental health side of addiction recovery. This means more rehab treatment centers are versed in dual diagnosis treatment and that some centers are specifically designed to treat dual diagnosis patients.

Many alcoholics also suffer from depression or anxiety, making them dual diagnosis patients. Alcohol tends to be used as “self-medication”, and many mental health disorders tend to encourage addictive behaviors. Sometimes alcoholism can even cause mental health disorders that the patient may not have suffered from before their addiction — alcohol abuse is truly that interwoven with mental health.

The good news is that dual diagnosis treatment is significantly more effective at treating both sides of a patient’s health issues by treating them simultaneously, as opposed to the separate approach often used by healthcare professionals in the past. By focusing efforts between the physical and behavioral problems (addiction) and the psychological strains (depression, anxiety, etc.), addiction recovery treatment efforts have a higher chance of leading to successful long-term sobriety.


Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the country, in part because it can be chronic as well as situational, and can be triggered by a variety of factors. Whether depression has lead to or been caused by addiction, alcohol is a frequently sought after substance for sufferers, since it can block out overwhelming sadness, despair, loneliness, etc. For some, alcohol actually worsens their suffering, which can lead to other substance abuse issues, but over time, alcohol will greatly worsen depression symptoms.


Anxiety, like Depression, is extremely common. Most people suffer from some form of anxiety during their life. Since alcohol is a “downer”, it can be an especially attractive substance to those suffering from anxiety or an anxiety disorder, since it can force their bodies and minds to relax for a period of time or distract them from intrusive thoughts and worries. This is especially true in social situations, where alcohol can be used to dampen social anxiety and make an individual feel false confidence in social situations as a result, so long as they have alcohol.

Unfortunately, just like with Depression, alcohol can make anxiety decidedly worse over time, especially since decisions made under the influence can put users in high anxiety situations they wouldn’t have otherwise been in.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Roughly 25% of those suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. Since OCD is an anxiety disorder, alcohol is attractive for the same reasons – temporary distraction and forced relaxation. And like other anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse tends to make OCD symptoms worsen over time, which can lead to a vicious cycle that worsens the patient’s alcohol addiction and mental health.

Bipolar Disorder

Alcohol abuse (and addiction issues in general) are common with those suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Alcohol is the most frequently abused substance amongst Bipolar Patients with over 50% of Bipolar I and Bipolar II patients abusing alcohol at some point in their lives. The cyclical nature of Bipolar disorder means that patients may be attracted to alcohol during certain parts of their mood cycles, such as their mania phase, while other illicit substances may be more commonly used in other phases. Regardless, alcohol abuse is dangerous at any phase, although it can be more so during a mania phase due to the increased risk of reckless behavior and decision making.

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa can both be caused by and a result of substance abuse and addiction. Nearly 50% of those with an eating disorder abuse alcohol and illicit drugs at some point in their life, which is five times higher than the general public, putting them at an increased risk of addiction. Individuals with eating disorders are 11 times more likely to suffer from addiction that the average person, as well.

Dual Diagnosis treatment is the best approach for anyone suffering from a mental health disorder and an addiction, but it is especially necessary when the patient is also battling an eating disorder of some kind.

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Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab treatment often occurs after some degree of inpatient treatment and allows patients to go back to their normal lives to some degree. There are many outpatient programs that start out with daily meetings for weeks, then taper off as the individual progresses through their recovery. Outpatient programs are usually less intensive than inpatient programs and aren’t as disruptive to a work or school schedule.

However, outpatient treatment is rarely the first step. If your alcohol addiction is severe, starting with outpatient treatment could be a waste of time, since it can be incredibly difficult to stay on track in the early stages. Detox and inpatient treatment should be the first two steps for most recovery seekers.

Sober Living and Life After Rehab

Once rehab treatment is completed, there are many different ways for newly sober patients to ease back into their normal lives while lessening their odds of relapse. Knowing your triggers and stringently avoiding them is important, but so is being assertive about limiting your exposure to substances as readily available as alcohol.

It can be very difficult to stay sober, especially since alcohol is such a widely used and “social” substance. Taking care of yourself after rehab could mean that you don’t go into bars anymore, just in case. It could mean going to a different convenience store if the one nearest to you sells alcohol. It’s important to know your own limits and not to push yourself too hard, especially in your few months of being sober, but there are also tons of resources available to help you.

Most rehab centers have “Life After Rehab” programs for their alumni. These could include weekly, biweekly, or monthly therapy or counseling sessions to help you stay on track, or a variety of other methods of continued support. Either way, there are plenty of post-rehab support programs available should you choose to enroll in one.

Find the Alcohol Addiction Treatment You Need Today

Trying to find alcohol addiction treatment that’s best suited for your unique situation can be difficult. Don’t struggle to find your treatment alone. Addiction Treatment Services can help match you with the addiction treatment center best suited to help you reach your sobriety goals. Ready to get started finding treatment for yourself or a loved one? Then give us a call today. Our specialists ready and waiting to help you 24/7 for your convenience.

We Can Help – Call Now (877) 455-0055

Signs of Alcoholism - Addiction Treatment Services

Problematic Drinking: Signs of Potential Alcohol Dependence

Problematic Drinking Signs of Potential Alcohol Dependence - Addiction Treatment Services

Most people don’t know when they’ve developed a physical and emotional dependence on a substance. Many ask, “Can you have a drinking problem and not be an alcoholic?”

The answer is yes, and only help in the early stages can stop it from getting worse. Intervention by friends and family should happen as soon as possible, but to do that, everyone needs to know what to look for.

Basic Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

These signs of habitual drinking may indicate a growing alcohol problem:

Defensive Response to Comments

Family and friends are the first to notice the changes that alcohol causes in a person. Don’t ignore this input from other people, and pay particular attention to the individual’s response.

An individual who may develop alcoholic addiction down the road will often react to these types of comments with irritation and anger.


If a person makes comments about needing a drink or that a drink would really hit the spot, this person may be showing signs of problematic drinking.

If such a craving exists, the individual is showing one of the first signs of addiction: a chemical alteration to the brain created by alcohol that the brain now demands to continue functioning consistently.

Legal Problems

Continued run-ins with the police or other legal violations that stem from alcohol abuse warn of pending problems. If the individual can’t stop getting into this kind of trouble, it’s indicative of an addiction taking hold.

Issues in Relationships

A person who begins having issues in their relationships with family, friends, and coworkers – as a result of their alcohol consumption – has taken the first step toward addiction. Soon, he or she will have the same problems interacting with anyone, including complete strangers.

Other Drugs

If a person can’t find the desired alcohol, they may turn to other options to fill a craving. The person may become desperate to find a fix. This has the potential to lead to multiple substance abuse problems.


After growing accustomed to the presence of alcohol in the system, people can experience mood swings when that substance is gone. This can include becoming angry or irritated with everything and everyone they encounter.

Promise to Quit

If people who enjoy too much alcohol in their life begin making promises not to consume any for an event, this serves as a warning sign. They are aware that they consume too much to realize avoiding it in certain circumstances is a good thing. People often make such promises around important events, such as a wedding, a work event or before driving somewhere.

Doctor’s Warning

If an individual is told by their doctor, or some other medical professional, that they are exhibiting signs of an alcohol problem, and then they argue with the medical professional or ignore them, a problem exists or has already begun.

Losing Consciousness

If a person wakes up and has no recollection of what happened or how he or she got there, it is likely the result of some form of substance abuse, such as alcohol. Alcohol consumption at this level indicates the problem has moved closer to full addiction.

Expenditures on Alcohol

People developing a dependence on alcohol will begin spending more and more money on alcohol. This may progress to detrimental spending levels that leave the person in financial trouble. This, in turn, reinforces the perceived need for a drink to escape the problems or one’s low self-esteem.

Inability to Focus

If an individual successfully chooses to abstain from alcohol for a day or a week and he or she begins complaining of difficulties in focusing or completing tasks, this person is exhibiting signs of dependence. Withdrawal symptoms will further exacerbate these issues.

Additional Problem Drinking Signs

Other indicators can be warning signs of a person’s path toward alcohol addiction. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) Hangover with Shakiness or Trembling

No one enjoys a hangover, and such an event is not indicative of a developing addiction, in and of itself. However, the severity and resulting effects can indicate a blossoming problem.

If the hangover keeps a person confined to bed for long periods of time or causes the person begins to feel shaky or starts to tremble, this is another warning sign that shows how easy it is for a person to cross the line from a simple hangover to serious consequences from overindulging.

If these types of hangovers become more frequent, the person affected is likely heading toward addiction.

2) Alcohol Use for Moderation of Stress

Most people know when they need to take a specific type of painkiller based on the type of pain they are experiencing, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for reducing inflammation or muscle soreness.

If the body sends the signal that alcohol is the remedy to reduce the stress or anxiety, the person has likely created a dependence on the substance, altering the body’s chemical make-up.

3) Alcohol Inventorying

If a person can list precisely how much alcohol is left in his or her possession, a problem generally exists. Worse still, if the person includes plans for how to replace their consumed alcohol, it’s a signal that the person has grown so dependent on the substance that they’ve altered their lifestyle to accommodate their habit.

What You Can Do When You See Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction happens slowly, but it does progress. The person experiencing the progression often not see it happening even if the changes are steadily worsening.

Be aware of your friend or loved one’s habit and monitor it for signs of a more serious problem developing in the future. Contact Addiction Treatment Services today for more information about intervention and treatment for alcoholism.

Find Out How to Arrange an Intervention

The Dangerous Relationship Between Eating Disorders And Alcohol Abuse

The Dangerous Relationship Between Eating Disorders And Alcohol Abuse

The Dangerous Relationship Between Eating Disorders And Alcohol AbuseAnorexia and bulimia are two of the most common eating disorders from which people suffer. However, every manifestation of each is different.

There are now buzzwords to describe certain types of anorexia and bulimia. These include “Diabulimia” (diabetes combined with bulimia) and “Manorexia” (a term for anorexia in men).

“Drunkorexia” is another such buzzword. It’s used to describe a combination of self-starvation, binge eating and binge drinking.

Eating disorders can be lethal by themselves. The National Eating Disorders Association finds mortality rates are 4 percent for anorexia and 3.9% for bulimia. When one considers that about 30 million Americans have an eating disorder, these percentages are shocking. People are more likely to die from eating disorders if they also abuse alcohol.

Anorexia, Bulimia And Alcohol Abuse

Anorexia is an eating disorder in which a person starves him or herself to lose weight. When anorexics do eat, their calorie intake is extremely restricted. Many anorexics avoid alcohol, but some choose to binge drink in place of eating. Others drink to calm their anxiety before eating or to suppress their appetites. This way, they can hide their disorder somewhat but still maintain an eating regimen.

Some people with eating disorders drink during the day and binge eat at night. They will sustain themselves on tiny portions of low-calorie food, or no food at all. But then they will binge and purge incredible amounts.

Some people report throwing up entire pizzas, multiple boxes of cereal and mass quantities of sweets. People with eating disorders sometimes spend $80 to $100 a day on fast food. Some anorexics binge drink while binging and purging. However, others use alcohol as their main sustenance.

Recent studies show between 25 and 33 percent of bulimics engage in alcoholism and drug abuse. That’s higher than among anorexics: A recent study indicates only 20 to 25 percent of anorexics have alcoholism or substance abuse issues.

Bulimics sometimes use alcohol, as well as cocaine or heroin, to suppress their appetites. They then binge and purge when they feel it’s safe, often at night.

Do Eating Disorders Cause Alcoholism?

Determining whether the eating disorder or alcoholism came first can be tricky. Studies show that more people, especially women, are abusing alcohol these days. Since women are more prone to eating disorders than men, a connection is likely. However, both men and women are vulnerable to the combination of eating disorders and alcohol abuse.

External factors may influence whether eating disorders or alcoholism show up first in a patient. One eating disorder patient, a nurse, reported staring at the clock during long shifts, aching for her next drink. She used alcohol not only to cope with her job’s stress, but to relax her when she ate in front of colleagues.

“If I drink more, I’m more into my eating disorder and vice versa,” she explained.

Is There An ‘Average Drunkorexic’?

Although anyone can become a “drunkorexic,” certain demographics are more at risk. Many female college students combine anorexia or bulimia with alcohol abuse. Studies show about 30 percent of college-aged women restrict their food intake so they can drink more, feel better about eating, and avoid gaining weight.

Most women who have been surveyed said they often do not eat before drinking. They reported this would cause them to become intoxicated faster, absorb less food, and thus lose weight.

The social pressure to be thin is rampant, especially among young people. There is also tremendous social pressure to drink. When these two pressures combine, it becomes no surprise people in their 20s and 30s are at risk for becoming so-called drunkorexics.

Additionally, drunkorexics are more likely than most alcohol users to experience full-blown addiction. People often use alcohol to combat hunger, even though the liquid substance is made up of empty calories.

Other Dangers Of ‘Drunkorexia’

Because drunkorexics drink on an empty stomach, they will experience adverse effects more quickly. These include blackouts, dizzy spells and memory loss, all of which could be particularly harmful for college students. Drunkorexics are also more likely to vomit. They may use this behavior as a way to lose weight.

Alcohol causes dehydration, which depletes existing nutrients and minerals. For an anorexic or bulimic, this pushes an eating disorder from dangerous to fatal. The natural effects of malnourishment such as stomach distention, tooth and mouth deterioration, and brittle hair will be exaggerated.

How To Break The Alcohol Abuse And Eating Disorders Connection

If you are using alcohol to cope with an eating disorder, contact a dual diagnosis treatment center to learn about a two-pronged approach to combating eating disorders and alcoholism. The right alcohol treatment program should be able to restore your health by teaching you to fuel your body with food instead of alcohol.

Mixing An Eating Disorder With Any Amount Of Alcohol Can Be A Dangerous And Deadly Combination. If You Need Help To Tackle Your Alcohol Habits, and Co-Occurring Disorders Such As Eating Disorders and Mental Health Issues, We Can Help.


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alcohol abuse and thyroid disease

The Connection Between Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

Millions of people in the United States suffer from thyroid issues. For most of these individuals, having an occasional alcoholic beverage isn’t a big deal.

Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, can have potentially dangerous health effects, especially among those who already have thyroid problems.

The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

Alcohol abuse can depress the thyroid gland and cause physical imbalance and strain.

Acetaldehyde, a compound that causes hangovers, can interfere with thyroid hormone receptors. Then, when these receptors try to compensate for the lack of feedback, the thyroid gland becomes overworked.

Too much acetaldehyde can also cause symptoms of hypothyroidism, even when thyroid function is normal in the absence of alcohol.

Although alcohol has pretty strong effects on the thyroid gland itself, it has a much stronger influence on the liver and adrenal glands. In fact, these organs endure the brunt of alcohol’s adverse effects.

And, since the functionality of the liver and thyroid are so closely related, alcohol abuse leaves a notable impact on both.

What Does the Thyroid Do?

Thyroid Gland Illustration Trachea Larynx - ATSThe thyroid is located along the windpipe in the front of the neck and contains many blood vessels.

It plays a role in the sound of a person’s voice, as the vocal cords stem from the cartilage at the front of the thyroid.

The primary role of the thyroid gland, however, is the secretion of two essential hormones: T3 and T4.

These hormones influence:

  • energy levels
  • metabolic rate
  • body temperature

Overall, the T3 and T4 hormones are crucial for normal bodily functions and general well-being. However, T4 must be converted to T3 before the body can make use of it. To change T4 to T3, the liver, kidneys, and muscles process the hormones, although this primarily happens in the liver.

The T3 hormone influences every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. And since the hormone T4 can only be utilized after it’s been processed, the conversion process can get complicated when the liver is preoccupied with metabolizing alcohol. In other words, the longer it takes to convert the hormones in the liver, the more sluggish the body will feel.

Thyroid Disease Stats and Facts

The causes of thyroid disease are mostly unknown, and many people who have thyroid complications are unaware that they have them.

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has compiled several statistics regarding thyroid conditions in the U.S. According to ATA:

  1. Thyroid disease, to some degree, affects an estimated 20 million Americans.
  2. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will have a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
  3. Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to develop thyroid issues, and one in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
  4. Thyroid diseases are lifelong conditions, but most can be managed with medical treatment.

The primary reason that women are more susceptible to thyroid issues than men is the hormone estrogen. Estrogen can speed up the inflammatory process of the immune system. And, since women naturally have higher levels of estrogen than men, they have a higher risk of developing thyroid issues.

The Role of the Liver and Thyroid in Alcohol Consumption

The liver is in charge of several vital functions, including:

  • enzyme activation
  • fluid and hormone excretion
  • storing vitamins and minerals
  • metabolizing nutrients from food to produce energy
  • producing and excreting bile, which is necessary for the digestive process

The most essential function of the liver, however, is detoxification. The liver acts as a filter, pulling out any harmful compounds and preparing them for expulsion.

Assuming everything about the body is healthy, a person weighing in at 150 pounds (lbs) will need an average of two hours for the liver to process a single alcoholic drink. The more alcohol the person consumes, the more preoccupied the liver will be.

Issues in the liver often compound with frequent alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse would severely impact the liver’s ability to filter and expel toxins from the body. Moreover, it would exacerbate the breakdown of both T4 and alcohol in the liver.

In other words, if a person is already suffering from thyroid issues, alcohol abuse can cause T3 levels to plummet. Then, when the body isn’t producing enough of this hormone, it could result in hypothyroidism and a slew of uncomfortable symptoms.

People suffering from hypothyroidism exhibit:

  • fatigue
  • dry skin
  • joint pain
  • depression
  • hoarseness
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • facial swelling
  • sensitivity to cold
  • slowed heart rate
  • impaired memory
  • weakness in muscles
  • muscle aches and stiffness
  • increased blood cholesterol

It’s important to note that many medications for thyroid problems require a healthy liver. Methimazole, for example, is a medication that requires regular liver filtration to treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. So, any time the liver is strained, the medication becomes less effective.

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Additional Problems Associated with Alcohol Use and Thyroid Disease

For anyone who already has issues with thyroid hormone production, alcohol abuse is only going to make the issue worse.

Of course, the effects of alcohol reach far beyond the liver and thyroid gland. Drinking affects nearly every part of the body. For example, the presence of alcohol in the stomach interferes with the natural production of acid. When acid levels drop, so does the rate of digestion.

An even more significant threat to digestive health is the physical damage that alcohol abuse can cause, such as:

  • liver disease
  • malnutrition
  • brain damage
  • various gastrointestinal cancers
  • “leaky gut,” which can trigger a severe autoimmune response
  • erosion of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, etc.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Thyroid Disease

The best choice for those with thyroid complications is to stop drinking altogether. Seeking professional treatment for alcoholism may be necessary.

For more information about treatment options for alcoholism, please contact us here or call us at (855) 247-4046.

Dad & Son-Alcohol Awareness Month-Battling Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Awareness Month: Battling Addiction And Regaining Control

Dad & Son-Alcohol Awareness Month-Battling Alcohol AddictionIt’s rare to find someone whose life hasn’t been affected by alcoholism in one way or another. Whether it’s a spouse, sibling, friend or coworker, most people have been impacted by the world’s most commonly-used addictive substance.

Alcohol Abuse Affects So Many Of Us

Did you know that one out of 12 Americans suffers from some form of alcohol abuse? That’s over 17 million people in the United States alone. Statistics indicate that half of all adults in the United States have a family history of alcoholism, and over 7 million children are growing up in homes where alcoholism is present.

When you consider the far reaching, societal ramifications of the family disease of alcoholism, it’s no wonder that Alcohol Awareness Month has grown significantly since it was founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD.)

Originally created to help reduce the shame and stigma associated with alcoholism, the NCADD encourages communities to inform and educate the public about the chronic and progressive nature of the disease of alcoholism and to carry the message of hope and recovery. Millions of Americans are living sober lives in recovery and loving life free from the chains of addiction.

Battling Alcohol Addiction And Regaining Control

The problem of alcoholism is that it often sneaks up on individuals. What begins as a drink or two at parties can quickly turn into a daily habit that involves consuming more and more. Over time, the impact can be extensive – from damaged relationships and difficulties at work to health issues and even serious legal problems. Unfortunately, the grip of addiction is strong, and few are actually able to overcome alcohol abuse and addiction without help.

For those who are in denial, a professional intervention is often the first step in the journey of recovery. This is when loved ones, friends and even colleagues can help the individual better understand the ramifications of their problem. Often this is enough to get the wheels turning that lead to treatment and recovery.

Getting Professional Treatment For Alcoholism

Holding Hands-Professional Treatment For Alcoholism

Help is available. Whether you or a loved one needs assistance with an alcohol problem, this fact is very important. No one has to battle alcoholism alone. Customized alcohol addiction treatment services offer a chance for a lasting recovery. By addressing an individual’s unique needs, causes of addiction and triggers, this form of treatment offers support and care that is greatly beneficial.

Make Alcohol Awareness Month the month that you make a real difference in your life or that of someone else that is struggling with alcohol. It is literally the gift of life!

Call us now to learn more about a professional intervention or customized addiction treatment services.

Help us spread the awareness of alcohol addiction during Alcohol Awareness Month, and beyond. – Share this article with any of your friends, family or colleagues that may be struggling or know someone who is.